Three years ago this month I found out the restaurant I had been baking for the 3 years prior was closing abruptly…as in 12 days later. After the initial shock and what the hell am I going to do wore off, I decided to start my own baking business. I began offering (via email) a weekly menu of things that I would have available, which enabled me to keep things fresh and not have loss, since it was all pre-ordered. I sent it to everyone I could think of locally. You must understand that I live in a very rural area and the economy is primarily tourist based..so during the winter it is not unlike a ghost town. Not the ideal way or time to start a business with very little money to spend…but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do! Fortunately, I had been baking out here for a good chunk of time, so I didn’t have to convince them they’d like it. Haha 😉 So began Rising Flour Bakery.
I made it through the winter and I signed on for 2 local farmers markets in neighboring towns that spring. The morning of my very first market, I woke up in the middle of the night with excruciating pain in my shoulders. I could not lift my arms higher than parallel to the ground. What. The. Hell. I texted one of my besties totally distraught and freaked out that my arms weren’t working. Incredibly, she showed up at my door at the crack of dawn and came with me that first day. Helped me set up my tent and load and unload my baked goods. I will never forget that kindness. And this day is where I began to really love farmers markets 🙂 I had shopped at them, of course….but the camaraderie and satisfaction of gathering weekly with a group of folks who also are proudly growing and making their own things was and still is very fulfilling to me. I also love the act of selling directly to the people who will be enjoying what I’ve created. You really get to know your regular customers over the course of a season…so it also fulfills my fascination of studying why people do what they do. And of course the act of helping create and contribute to the local economy. The following year, I focused with a few other folks to start a market right here in our tiny town. We’ll start our second season in April 🙂 Due to my stubbornness and avoidance of western medicine unless I am bleeding out, I wouldn’t find out until that November that what was going on with my arms was rheumatoid arthritis (more on that in a different post).
As I enter into my 3rd year, I have to say, I am proud of my hard work, that I didn’t give up and most importantly what I have learned from the experience. And, really just the experience itself. It has been a wonderful reminder that things often are not what they seem…ie, losing my job was not the end of the world…but a beginning of a completely new one. I also feel the need to say, if someone with a mind as scattered as my tends to be, can start a business—so can anyone that is passionate about something! It is a real and true thing that the universe conspires to help you along when you are on the right path. There was a time I thought that was just bumper sticker wisdom…I have since seen it on this baking journey and now it is a mantra of sorts ❤
So the place I’ve come to at this point with my business is a conundrum. I have done this without credit cards…so I have no established credit. (Working on that one..) I considered adding another market and hiring a person to sell for me…but really, I don’t like the idea of becoming responsible for a part of someone else’s income at this point…as well as, by the time I paid them and for the additional ingredients to cover another market…it would equate to working for free. (Plus I’ve added a part time job..) From talking to other friends with small businesses this is a common place to come to…and often when folks hang up their hat. I’m not ready for that either. So tomorrow I start a class that will help me figure out taking this to the next level. Incredibly and coincidentally (?) the class I am in is being taught by a woman who is a successful local baker…and now teacher and writer as well. I am super excited! And a little nervous. Haha! I have a few ideas of what could come next that wouldn’t be a huge investment to get started and could potentially turn this into a thriving and sustainable business. The class will help me create a business plan, learn more about marketing, meet other small business owners and hopefully help me determine how feasible my ideas are. This feels like a new chapter, which is very exciting. I am really amazed by the last 2 years. Honestly, I’m still recognizing what all I have learned. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family, friends and community. I am grateful and happy to have come this far ❤ I hope the snow doesn’t cancel class!! My knowledge of hashtags and where they work is minimal but growing..I’m going to put some at the bottom of this post…Someone tell me if they should go somewhere else. Ha!
#smallbusiness #risingflourbakery #moutainbizworks #wnc #828isgreat #dohashtagsworkhere #supportyourlocaleveryone #farmersmarketsrule